Linda had to go into the bakery today and left early this morning before I even woke up. I wasn’t all that hungry when I got up, which us unusual for me, so I started a load of laundry and got to work at my desk. I have had my new ASUS laptop for a couple of weeks now, but I do not yet have it set up for use. I’ve lost track of the exact count of updates, but it was somewhere between 70 and 80 when we left for the Escapade and 25 more got installed yesterday. The only software I have added so far is Microsoft Office 2013, but the computer came with quite a few “apps” already installed. The salesman at Best Buy had alerted me to expect quite a few updates initially so this has not come as a big surprise.
At one of the Geeks On Tour seminars we attended at Escapade they suggested that laptop computers may eventually disappear. I doubt that desktop or laptop computers will ever completely disappear from the market, but we know from recent experience that the selection is narrowing and there are fewer companies making them. Perhaps someday I will be creating documents (text and spreadsheet) and editing photos on a tablet, but if so, it will be with a large external monitor, full-size keyboard, and a mouse. It’s not that I am “old fashioned” or resistant to change, it’s that some tasks are more easily accomplished in certain ways.
On the other hand, I write most of these blog posts on my iPad2. It’s small and light and I can work on the couch, the deck, outside our motorhome, at Panera, in bed, or pretty much anywhere, and I have worked in all those places and more. Before they go into WordPress, however, I e-mail them to myself, copy and paste them into Word, edit them, and insert captions as markers for the photographs. I select and process all of the photographs on my computer. The post is copied from Word and pasted into the WordPress editor where I make some final changes and then upload and insert the images. I often review the post on my iPad to make sure it formats OK and if I find a typo I will log into our site from my iPad2 and make the correction.
This morning I purchased, downloaded, and installed the password program we use on our other devices. The process was easy and it sync’d up with our Cloud account as soon as I activated it. This is one of those cases where the Cloud really makes a lot of sense to me as the amount of data that gets moved around is small. We now have this same app on three laptops and two iPads. The original password program was on my Palm Tungsten T-3 and was sync’d only to my old laptop via a USB cable. We were able to install the new version of the program on that laptop, capture all of the existing password information, and store it in the Cloud account that was included in the price of the app/program. From there it was a simple matter to put the app on other Windows laptops and install the iOS version on our iPads. We can add/change the information on any device and it updates the Cloud database (if we are connected to the Internet) and then updates all of the other devices the next time they are online.
I still have a lot of contact information and my main calendar on my Palm, and it is still sync’d with my old WinXP laptop via a USB cable. I plan to “move” that information to Outlook on my new computer, but in this case “move” may mean “manually enter.” If so, I am not looking forward to that process.
Prevost’s U. S. parts center in Elgin, Illinois operates from 7 AM to 7 PM Central Time, Monday through Friday. I called them a little after 8 AM EDT and talked to Aeleen. They had the mirror assembly in stock in New Jersey so I ordered it. It should be here on Wednesday or Thursday; 2-day shipping is almost always included in the price. She is also going to have the home office in Quebec mail me an updated CD with the CatBase Viewer program/database to install on my new laptop. This program/database has diagrams and parts lists for almost everything in the bus for all models back to the early 70’s. It filters the diagrams and parts lists to our VIN numbers and I have found it enormously helpful in figuring out what part I need before calling the Elgin parts center to place an order. Prevost also has an online ordering system and using it would save us 3%, but I often find that I am not quite clear on the part I need, or the part has been superseded by a new one that is not shown in (my version of) the CatBase Viewer. The telephone order desk folks are usually very helpful.
I had sent a text message to Chuck earlier and got a return phone call. We talked at length about bus projects, pole barns, and recent travels. Having gotten the bus mirror ordered and my password app installed/operating I was feeling like it was going to be a fairly productive day. As an “expert” on data I was aware that two data points do not establish a trend, and so it was that my winning streak came to a halt when I tried to install our HP LaserJet 3600n network printer and the Adobe CC Desktop App.
I had my laptop search for network printers and it found the 3600n. I downloaded and installed the Win 7/8/8.1 printer installation wizard and ran it. When I tried to install it I was taken to the list of manufacturers and models to select the appropriate driver. Alas, the LaserJet 3600n was not on the list and the wizard told me that our printer was not currently supported by the wizard. It seems that the printer wizard has something in common with the Wizard of Oz.
I tried Windows Update, but no luck there either. I went to the Win 8.1 “metro” screen and searched for “install printer” and “install network printer” which led me to various web pages on Microsoft’s and Hewlett-Packard’s websites. I eventually found a driver for Windows 8.1 USB, but I am not trying to connect to the printer through a USB cable, I am trying to use it through our Ethernet LAN. The odd thing is that Linda’s Windows 8.1 Samsung laptop prints to the LaserJet 3600n over our LAN just fine. Unfortunately I have no recollection of how we got her machine to do that at year ago. This took up at least an hour of my morning, without success, for what should have been a 3-minute task. Being retired does not make this waste of time any less frustrating.
In late December (2013) I subscribed to Adobe’s Creative Cloud (CC) Photography Program. For $10/month we get to download and use Lightroom (Lr) and Photoshop (Ps) on two computers, with updates whenever they are available, and access to training materials and forums. We can also add other Adobe products (apps/programs) to our subscription for an additional monthly cost. We installed Adobe Creative Cloud Desktop, Lightroom, and Photoshop on Linda’s Samsung laptop right away to make sure the subscription was set up correctly, but could not install these programs on my old 32-bit Win XP Pro machine (even though I specifically asked the pre-sale consultant if it would run on Windows XP and was told “yes”.) One of my main reasons for getting a new laptop (besides the end of support for Windows XP), and for selecting the one I did, was to be able to run these two programs. Alas, I was able to download the Adobe CC Desktop installer, but the installer was unable to install the Adobe CC Desktop App. The Desktop App is used to install and update the other programs, so my Adobe installation efforts ended for the day shortly after they started. Or should have; I plugged away at this several times before giving up. I did notice in a news feed that Adobe had a 24-hour outage recently, and on one attempt to download I got a screen saying the site was down for maintenance, so I am hopeful (but not optimistic) that the next time I try this it will work correctly. If not, I will find out how helpful Adobe Customer Service really is.
Linda got home around 5 PM, having spent almost 1.5 hours in rush hour traffic. She was tired from a long day and the effects of a cold and/or allergy, so dinner was a simple salad and vegan brats on a hotdog bun with the rest of the fresh fruit from last night. She headed off to bed and I returned to my ham shack/office where I responded to e-mails and updated three of my four WordPress sites. I then configured my e-mail accounts in Outlook on my new computer. I sent test messages for each account and got them all working after correcting a couple of typos.
To set up the e-mail accounts I copied all of the “.pst” files from my WinXP machine to a folder on our NAS. I copied the folder from the NAS to the ASUS in a place where I could find it easily. I then configured and tested each e-mail account using the corresponding pst file. Everything appeared to work except I did not have my address book. One of the pst files was named Outlook.pst, and that file was associated with the Personal Folders entry on my WinXP machine. That folder was moved to Outlook from Outlook Express where I only had one e-mail account, and that account went away last May after we moved. Since I was not setting up an e-mail account to go with this pst file, I decided to import it into Outlook. It showed up in my list of e-mail accounts and I appeared to have all of my contacts when I clicked on People at the bottom of the screen but I was not able to select them as recipients for a new e-mail. Ugh. So close and yet not right. I e-mailed Mike (W8XH) to see if he could assist me with this as he has in the past, and then went to bed.